“The manner of storage of books that were gifted at the BDU stores made the various texts and quantities thereof, inaccessible and therefore it was difficult to carry out a physical count or determine proper accountability of the texts.”
A 2010 audit of the Ministry of Education distribution processes has revealed continuing worry over government’s handling of text books and other inventories.
According to the 2010 Auditor General report which was recently released, checks have found that the Ministry’s Central Accounting Unit (CAU), National Centre for Educational Research Development (NCERD), the Book Distribution Unit (BDU) and the Guyana Industrial Training Centre (GITC) were in serious breaches of the Stores Regulations.
Records by the CAU indicated that issues of items of stocks were “either not maintained or was not properly maintained”.
There have been several concerns expressed over the distribution process of text books, with insiders claiming corruption in the procurement process with even instances of short supplies being delivered to and collected by the BDU and the Ministry.
“As a result, vital control mechanisms to ensure proper accountability for stock were not in place,” the report said.
Government spent over $600M in 2010 for print and non-print materials, office materials and supplies, field materials and supplies.
At the BDU stores, the Audit Office sampled 40 text book titles, with an actual physical count finding 32 instances of shortages and six of excesses.
“The manner of storage of books that were gifted at the BDU stores made the various texts and quantities thereof inaccessible and therefore, it was difficult to carry out a physical count or determine proper accountability of the texts.”
There were similar problems at the GITC.
With regards to the CAU office at 68 Brickdam, “stock ledgers were maintained at the store but bore no evidence of supervisory checks and in 14 instances, reference numbers from the goods received was not quoted. Also, internal stores requisitions were not serially numbered, resulting in difficulty when attempts were made to trace transactions to the stock ledger.”
The Ministry in explaining the findings said that it faced a severe staff shortage in 2010 and had even attempted to rotate and reassign staff to give priority to the management of its stores.
“Also steps are being taken to recruit/assign capable personnel to these stations to ensure full procedural compliance with the stores regulations. The head of Budget Agency also advised that the Ministry has recently embarked on capacity building amongst all stores, as a measure of curtailing further occurrences.”
The Audit Office in its recommendations warned the Ministry to strictly adhere to the requirements of the Store Regulations at all times.
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